Happy Birthday Dev Anand: Popularly called Dev Saab is one of the most popular romantic heroes in the history of the Indian film industry. Born as Dharamdev Pishorimal Anand in Shakargarh tehsil of Gurdaspur district in Punjab, initially Dev Saab, after a graduation in English literature from Lahore briefly worked in a military censors office and also as a clerk in an accounting firm before entering films.
His 1st film Hum Ek Hain was as a hero which was in 1946 when he was just 23. He acted in a total of 114 movies and was hero in a record 104, later broken by Rajesh Khanna who had 106 movies as hero. At 26, he launched Navketan films. Navketan means Newness in Sanskrit, and throughout his career he discovered various actors who went on to become established stars.
Today on his birthday let us reminiscence some rare trivia about this lovable romantic hero and two of the top heroines whom he had launched, namely Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim.
Zeenat Aman’s 1st film was technically OP Ralhan’s Hulchul, but it was Dev Saab who lauched her to super-stardom with the role of Janice in “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” and the iconic RD Burman song “Dum Maaro Dum“. Dev Saab during the shooting of his film Prem Pujari in Nepal had seen a hippie girl puffing a cigarette and this gave him the inspiration for the role of Janice. Dev originally wanted his heroine in Prem Pujari and in Gambler, Zaheeda (niece of Nargis Dutt) to play the role but she refused as she found it too westernised. This was Zeenat’s luck and destiny.
Later Zeenat kept getting sister roles as she was Dev’s sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Dev asked her to be patient and later gave her a heroine’s role in Heera Panna and also Ishq Ishq Ishq, which was also one of the earliest movies of Shabana Azmi in her 1st year in films.
Tina Munim was introduced by Dev saab in Des Pardes. This movie also introduced music director Rajesh Roshan with Amit Khanna as lyricist. The team was repeated in Man Pasand, a film dedicated to George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, though Dev Saab said it was inspired by My Fair Lady. Lootmaar was another movie where the successful team of Dev Saab, Tina Munim, Rajesh Roshan and Amit Khanna were together. Lootmaar was inspired by Dev Anand reading news of frequent theft, dacoity and crimes in newspapers and getting an idea to make a movie on it. Urban legend has it that Tina Munim had a Mujra dance in the movie which was edited and left her fuming as she had worked very hard for it and in anger she walked out of Swami Dada.
Zeenat and Tina Munim were not his only discoveries and there were many more.
Happy Birthday Dev Saab.